You were created to be happy and happiness is in our birthright in Christ
Merciful people are happy people. People who lack mercy, lack happiness.
Blessed are the merciful; for they will be shown mercy. MATTHEW 5:7 CSB
Being a merciful person means:
Loving God by loving people you are not supposed to love
Then an expert in the law stood up to test him, saying, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the law?” he asked him. “How do you read it?” He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind;” and “your neighbor as yourself.” “You’ve answered correctly,” he told him. “Do this and you will live.” LUKE 10:25-28 CSB
That every human being is your neighbor
But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” LUKE 10:29 CSB
That you cross ethnic, cultural and religious barriers to help hurting people
Jesus took up the question and said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him, beat him up, and fled, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down that road. When he saw him, he passed by on the other side. In the same way, a Levite, when he arrived at the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan on his journey came up to him, and when he saw the man, he had compassion. LUKE 10:30-33 CSB
But we do see Jesus—made lower than the angels for a short time so that by God’s grace he might taste death for everyone– crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death. HEBREWS 2:9 CSB
That you are willing to count the cost of loving your neighbor
He went over to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on olive oil and wine. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him. When I come back I’ll reimburse you for whatever extra you spend. LUKE 10:34-35 CSB
“Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” “The one who showed mercy to him,” he said. Then Jesus told him, “Go and do the same.” LUKE 10:36-37 CSB
Personal Reflection Guide
Find a quiet area to spend some intentional time with God so that you might go deeper with him from the weekend's message. If "mercy" means receiving unmerited favor, reflect back over the times in your life where God has shown you mercy. Stay in this moment, thanking him for his kindness toward you. Now ask God to reveal areas in your life where you might be lacking in mercy toward others. Be honest with yourself in this process, asking God to meet you where you are, growing your capacity for mercy. Finally, ask God to show you any practical steps you can take this week to show mercy to others. End your time by once again remembering his mercy toward you, asking God to give you the strength to extend similar mercies to others.
- What have you been learning about yourself, God or others in your personal Bible reading time? What stood out to you this week?
- Read Matthew 5:7. As you think back on your life, when have you had a memorable encounter with mercy (being loved by someone who is not "supposed" to love you), and what did it mean to you?
- Read Luke 10:25-29. Of all of the commands of God that you know, which one do you find yourself looking to "justify your actions", and why do you think that is?
- Continue Reading Luke 10:30-33. With your limited time and resources, what criteria do you use to decide who you help and who you don't?
- Continue Reading Luke 10:34-37. What will it cost you to "go and do the same" to the people God puts in your life, and what practical things need to change for you to be able to show them this kind of mercy?
- Read Hebrews 2:9. Jesus crossed a barrier from heaven to earth to come and be merciful to us, what barriers can you cross to show God's love and mercy to those in your life that need it?